Lezgins - Kinship and Sociopolitical Organization

Although a weak feudal structure had developed in the region of Kurakh, the majority of the Lezgins lived in free societies. These free societies, ruled by the village adat (traditional Daghestani customary law that predates Islam), were comprised of large extended patriarchal clans ( tukhum ). The largest of the free societies were the Akhty-para, Alty-para, Dokuz-para, and Rutul (the Rutul free society was comprised of Lezgin and Rutul clans). Some Lezgin tukhums were, at different times, under foreign feudal overlordship (e.g., the Lak Khanate of Kazikumukh and the Azerbaijani khanates of Shemakha, Kuba, and Derbent). The Lezgin tukhum, a large extended family with a living or recently deceased common ancestor, owned all property. The elder patriarch or the elder male members made the major decisions for the clan. Members of the tukhum supported each other in their work and their family affairs and bore mutual responsibility for vendettas, which came under adat. Today, with modernization and out-migration, tukhums are becoming less important than they once were.

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